Aug 24 - Reactions to Plastics Industry Influence on Education Curriculum

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Last Friday, California Watch released a story on edits to the state’s Environmental Education Curriculum which were strongly influenced by the plastics industry. The changes included the benefits of plastic bags in an 11th grade textbook and lesson plans.

Senator Fran Pavley, who authored a 2003 bill requiring environmental curriculum in our schools, was unaware of those changes until California Watch brought them to her attention. She is now requesting that Cal/EPA work towards a removal of those changes, stating,

"The American Chemistry Council obviously got engaged to protect their bottom line."

Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, released a statement shortly after the story broke and revealed,

"I have asked my staff to work with CalEPA to identify any material where further work may be warranted."

The news has caused widespread concern among environmental groups and bag ban advocates about yet another sneaky tactic by the plastic industry.

In a follow up to the California Watch article, Assembly Member Julia Brownley, author of last year’s statewide plastic bag ban, was

"troubled that some of the content on plastic bags is inaccurate and may be misleading. We need to review what happened and make sure (the) model curriculum is accurate and unbiased."

CAW Executive Director Mark Murray adds,

"Parents should be outraged that their kids are going to be potentially taught bogus facts written by a plastic-industry consultant suggesting advantages of plastic bags."